UMM - Leading Ministry, Training Leaders
Texas Conference United Methodist Men President Ricky Tate said in his 14 years of involvement, he has never seen the leadership of UMM at all levels stronger than today. "We have the right people in the right places to move forward... now we just need to find more men on the local level that can step up and be tomorrow's leaders."
They want to be able to connect men's ministries across all churches in the conference and provide resources and training to assist every men's ministry group with every possible opportunity to succeed. "Our greatest need is for clergy and district leadership to promote UMM and how important this ministry can be to each church. We need to be able to identify men in the local churches that can step up into leadership positions from those who know the men in the districts. That help can only make us stronger."
He noted the majority of men involved in the TAC UMM come from around the Houston area. "The further North we go, it is logistically more difficult for them to participate. There are several groups operating under the auspices of UMM that are not chartered that have active ministries. Our charter is our connectional tool that keeps us all connected. If we increase our charters, it will help us to get information and resources to more churches and help support them in their ministries."
UMM leaders identified many strong chapters in the Texas Conference that can help others learn about successful models for men's ministry. The ones mentioned were:
o Houston Atascocita
o Orange County UMM - Building Mobile Medical Units
o Houston Wesley UMC
o Bryan UMC - Pet Project
o Perritte Memorial - Scouting Program
o Jones Memorial UMC
o Houston FUMC
o Kingwood UMC
o Bear Creek
United Methodist Men is the largest, most organized men’s ministry of any denomination in the world, and UMM National President Dan Ramsey is quick to state that it is all about ministry. "This not a club or a meet and eat group. Every man in the church, whether they attend a meeting or not is a United Methodist Man... We are working to change the way people perceive what Men’s ministry is all about: We're about changing lives and hearts and making disciples for Jesus Christ. We're here to support and help every man in the local church as they go about doing ministry."
General Secretary Gil Hanke said they offer that support by providing leadership development and program resources to local churches, districts and annual conferences. "If a local church wants something, we either have it on hand, we know where we can get it or we’ll create it ourselves. We’ll keep that promise to the local church and fulfill it every day." They either create or screen all of their offerings to ensure they have a Wesleyan theological base that will match the needs of the men in the United Methodist Church.
Resources they offer for local churches include:
· training programs for developing leaders within the local church, UMM chapters, districts and conferences
· certification programs for men's ministry and scouting specialists
· small group resources
· fundraising resources
· bylaws and constitutions that can be changed to meet local chapter needs
· programs and ministry partnerships that have local, national and international impact
o Society of St. Andrews (domestic food ministry)
o Stop Hunger Now (international food ministry)
o Strength for Service (Devotionals for military and emergency responders)
o Upper Room Prayer Line (24/7 prayer line - 4 hour shifts)
o Hope of Hearing (hearing aid recycling for those without hearing)
o PETS ( vehicles for the disabled)
"Our goal is to help," Ramsey continued. "A group may have their own programs that are working for them. We will do whatever we can to help support those programs. We’re not telling anybody how to do anything, but we want to provide information to help."
"Men are looking for a place where they can relate as men with other men and grow in Christ," Hanke added. "We’re seeking to help them be doers of the word and not hearers only - and declare the centrality of Christ in our lives..."
"I've had a woman come to me and say 'I don’t know what's going on in that meeting, but my husband is different. Please make sure he stays in it.' When a young boy comes to you and says: 'My Dad’s different because he went on that retreat. I hope someday I’ll be old enough to go with him...' When you get that feedback you know you’re going in the right direction."
Upcoming Opportunities to Connect
UMM in the TAC will be holding their annual spring retreat at Lakeview April 19-21. Event Details
The 17th general gathering of the national meeting of UMM will be held at Belmont University in Nashville, TN July 12-14. More Information